With the formation of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), there were some shortcomings and many ethnic groups were against the dominance of the Bodos. The complaint of the non-Bodos is that the tribal population is a minority in many parts of the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD)—only about one-third, the grievance of the Bodos is that migrants from non-Bodo areas and immigrants from Bangladesh are continuing to enter the BTAD and settling down on tribal land. The fact is that the ethnic clashes represent conflict arising out of high consciousness era.
It appears that Indian demographic constituents are not in equilibrium with each other, with many believing that they can improve their lots by challenging others by aggressive means. It so happens that naxalism, terrorism, communalism and casteism all would continue to plague Indian society to some extent in the years to follow. The integration of economy of the Rest with the West and within ends nativity. The increased consumption and consciousness makes people urban wherever they live and the problems of an urbanized society haunt them. The consumerism increases the nationalism and shifts the people towards the Right, the extent depending upon the type of the society. The fact is that Bodos and Muslims are not merely fighting their wars but are fighting wars involving larger identities encompassing larger space-time. The momentum of the conflict, it appears, is maintained by identification with various constituents of larger India; it is part supported by artificial ventilation. This would be certainly true for future conflicts, if not for the present one.
The point is that Bodos are largely a tribe and historically and consistently speaking they were not formally part of the Hindu society. But the fact is that they follow Hinduism and that’s important. It is a matter of identity and that is all. As far as taking sides is concerned the blame is likely to belong to both sides but the fact is that if the clash involves illegally staying Bangladeshi immigrants; be they Hindus or Muslims, then the fault lies with them. No illegal immigrant has the right or claim over land more so, in this sensitive area.
Indian government should be tough in dealing with this issue. Simultaneously, Indian government has denied the hand of any foreign government in the present clashes. Suppose it involves local Muslims and other people then the matter should be sorted out between the two sides peacefully without communalizing the issue. The fact is that people require land and the BTC Act might have put some conditions on acquisition of the land for non-Bodos. While local rights must be protected, the legal residents should also have sufficient freedom to do what they want to.
The clashes portray the darker sides of Indian administration; its limits and constraints in the troubled and disturbed areas, be it the North East or Kashmir. The more the internal conflicts and disputes, the more the shrinking of Indian state and its image globally might also get affected. The conflicts involving people erodes the authority of any state where they are taking place, here it is Indian state. The brighter side is that it does not involve the North of India and therefore it is not contagious. Very few incidents which take place outside the Hindi heartland have the ability to spread outside the regions in which they are taking place.
Contrary to common perception, the present clashes in Assam would shorten the distance between the Center and Right. Whichever side be more responsible in the clashes, the fact is that parties all across the political spectrum would accept to some extent the BJP’s views about Muslims. But it would be only ideological victory for the BJP without much electoral gains all across India. It would be partial saffronization of all meaningful political options minus the Kashmiris. Even the Left and DMK may have to accept this to some extent.
Disproportionate consumerism is based on bloated nationalism and the Right is party to it. It is no duty of state to protect its people from the second stage of illiteracy as that is the direct consequence of WTO-regime led expansion and integration and the government hands are tied. It is for the people to understand what their states can produce and what they can't. It should be emphasized that understanding one’s constraints and limits does not imply accepting racism though that could be its distributive consequence. All individuals should have freedom to pursue their lives in whatever manner they want consistent with the laws. Once understood the people would be less subjected to manipulation by higher states.
The violence in Assam would further divide the ethnic identities and would weaken the communal harmony. It is the urbanization of mind which is responsible for so much violence. Otherwise, they should be able to work out an amicable solution themselves by talking to each other. But the bottomline is clear that the North East and this is particularly true for Assam, would be integrated with the rest of India and identities above the ethnic ones, like religious or castes, could play a larger role in the lives of the people of the region. There is a lot of problem in land owning rights in the North East and this could affect other parts too. The region could show a shade of ‘religious and ethnic naxalism’; a kind of ‘communal communism’. It is the consequences of time that all political options, including the Right and the Left, would be more hybridized.
Of course, tribes mostly belong to Hindu identity and therefore, consolidation and identification with the rest of India would serve their purpose more. As a result of clash, Muslims are going to be more emotive about their identities. Both sides are required to understand the dynamics of demographics. Hindus need to understand that by ‘cultural suicide’ they can not convert Muslims. Muslims on their part should understand that the suicide is temporal and is based on the blatant selfishness of the Hindus. In long term, Hindus and Muslims are going to decouple to the extent possible keeping economic activities intact. This is the consequence of high consciousness and urbanization induced by rapid economic activities. All would attempt at reinterpreting their pasts and majority of them are going to make mistakes.
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